Mobilising support example:
Citizenship training school
|Organisation||Associação de Educadores Populares do Ceará - Movimento Ceará|
SummaryIn 2017, the Association of Popular Educators of Ceará - Ceará Movement (Associação de Educadores Populares do Ceará - Movimento Ceará) carried out an activity aimed at strengthening civil society organisations in public policy advocacy, as well as in political, institutional and financial sustainability. To this end, they sought to regulate, at municipal level, Federal Law 13019 of 2014, which enacts Brazil’s new Regulatory Framework for Civil Society Organisations (known as MROSC), aimed at improving operating conditions for civil society.
Fifty-five civil society organisations were involved in a five-month training process, known as the “Citizenship training school”, creating a participatory process involving three municipalities in the state of Ceará: Tabuleiro do Norte, Limoeiro do Norte and São João do Jaguaribe. In the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte, this work progressed, leading to the participatory construction of a proposal for the municipal regulation of MROSC, the holding of a public hearing, involving government bodies and civil society, and the approval of a municipal decree in line with federal law.
In order to attain its objectives, a series of strategies and activities were carried out, including: the mobilisation of organisations and partner networks; preparatory meetings for training activities; the drafting of educational materials and their dissemination; the training of a commission to establish dialogue with the public authorities; meetings with the public authorities about the proposed municipal regulatory standard; and preparatory meetings for the public hearing. The methodology was founded on Paulo Freire’s principals of Popular Education, based on collective construction and a reading of the world that considers the reality experienced by the subjects involved as a starting point of the educational process.
As a result, more than 300 people were involved in activities and 55 civil society organisations were strengthened in relation to popular participatory processes and public policy oversight, democratic management, the socio-political context, political and financial sustainability and the new Regulatory Framework regarding relationships between civil society and the state. Further, advocacy with the executive and legislative authorities occurred in Tabuleiro do Norte through the public hearing and the drafting of a participatory proposal for the municipal regulation of MROSC, through the approval of municipal decree no. 52 of 24 November 2017. Finally, the activities resulted in new links for the Tabuleiro do Norte Federation of Community Associations.
According to data from research by various institutions there are approximately 400 thousand civil society organisations in Brazil. They form a diverse set of organisations, working in a number of areas, including the defence of rights and causes of public interest. According to the research, approximately 70% of these organisations do not access public resources, raising funds from national or international sources or using their own funds. Profound concerns exist about political and financial sustainability, in particular for small organisations, which, despite the creativity used to guarantee activities are carried out, do not normally rely on financial support for their work, and suffer political persecution and criminalisation.
Among the difficulties identified was a lack of up-to-date regulations for partnerships between civil society and the state. Following a participatory process that involved a representative sample of Brazilian organisations, Federal Law 13019 of 2014 was approved. This standardises and simplifies the rules for partnerships between public authorities and civil society, as well as guaranteeing greater transparency and security in the transfer of public funds to such organisations.
The new legal framework forms a basis for the political strengthening of civil society organisations. Although such normative progress is important, serious problems exist within the current context in Brazil, with significant progress in the criminalisation of civil society organisations, through the opening of investigations against civil society movements and organisations, as well as legislative proposals which establish government control, the closure of councils and agencies for participation (Decree 9759/2019), and the criminalisation of environmental organisations. This has created new challenges, such as the need for the local mobilisation of civil society organisations at state and municipal levels.
Facing the challenge of this unfavourable national political situation and the loss of rights requires activities such as training civil society organisations so that they understand the progress made under the MROSC law and the need for mobilisation at municipal and state level; the establishment of inter-institutional dialogue to foster a new government culture; conducting periodic studies of the profile of social organisations and the mechanisms to strengthen transparency in Brazil; the construction of common agendas that take account of territorial contexts; and the monitoring of the implementation of Federal Law 13019/2014.
The activity run by the Association of Popular Educators of Ceará - Ceará Movement focused particularly on: training for community associations from three municipalities in the state of Ceará (Tabuleiro do Norte, Limoeiro do Norte and São João do Jaguaribe); networking and mobilisation; and advocacy with the public authorities for the municipal regulation of the MROSC Federal Law in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte.
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
In general, allied stakeholders are civil society organisations and networks from grassroots movements, religious and ecumenical organizations, unions and public sector bodies; some of these groups are directly involved in action, while others are potential allies to the cause, as we will see below:
The Family Farming School Association, the Community Associations of Juazeiro and Sussuarana and the Christ is Hope Association, as well as the Association of Popular Educators of Ceará - Ceará Movement itself, were member organisations of the commission which was set up to establish dialogue with the public authorities in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte.
Community Associations and civil society organisations from the municipalities of Tabuleiro do Norte, Limoeiro do Norte and São João do Jaguaribe in the state of Ceará, working together in the coordination, mobilisation and organisation of activities, as well as participating in work commissions aimed at running activities (mobilisation, training and advocacy).
The Union of Municipal Public Servants from Tabuleiro do Norte provided space, materials and personnel to support the activities.
The Federation of Family Farm Workers from Ceará and the Unions provided space, materials and support personnel, worked in mobilisation and provided advice about the activities.
The Theatre Scenes Group, supported the organisation of and ran activities, as did the Regional Forum of Cultural Policies from the Jaguaribe Vale.
The Citizen Education Network were partners in conducting activities.
- Organisations from the municipalities of Saboeiro, Jucá, Cariús and Itapipoca, such as the Saboeiro Federation of Community Associations, the Cairús Federation of Community Associations, the Itapipoca Federation of Community Groups; and from the communities of Fortaleza, Aracape, Redenção, Aracoiaba and Baturitpe, in partnership with the Obrta Kolping Association, were groups which required support and established partnerships in order to replicate the training in these municipalities.
- the Federation of Community Associations from Tabuleiro do Norte is a network that forged new links based on activities and mobilisations arising from ongoing mobilisation, the construction of local partnerships and networking.
- the Paulo Freire Institute and the Ceará State Family Farmers Housing Cooperative are partners of the Association of Popular Educators of Ceará and potential allies; the Centre for Multi-professional Advice is a partner of the Association of Popular Educators of Ceará and has supported projects related to popular education and the strengthening of civil society organisations.
- Civil society organisations and social movements; members of parliament linked to the cause for the defence of civil society organisations and against criminalisation; Rights Councils; universities and other educational institutions; student and teacher associations, were all identified as potential allies, since they are stakeholders aware of the need for positive changes to the operating conditions of civil society organisations.
Other allies of the cause, in a broader sense, are:
-The Platform for a New Regulatory Framework for Civil Society Organisations, a network of non-profit and public interest organizations that worked in a number of working groups, public hearings, discussions and contributions for the construction of the MROSC law 13019/14 and continue to work for its implementation, aimed at improving the social, political and legal environment for the organisational operations.
- The Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, which works to strengthen civil society organisations, monitoring projects and the implementation of MROSC, and in campaigns against the criminalisation of civil society organisations.
- Certain sectors of the public executive, legislative and judicial authorities have entered into dialogue with civil society in order to implement MROSC at state and municipal level.
- Out of the international agencies, the European Union, which has supported initiatives in Brazil related to the strengthening of civil society organisations and the new regulatory framework.
Which stakeholders did you identify as neutral and how did you mobilise them?
- The general population and certain community associations, which are not aware of and/or are politically and financially weak in relation to the appropriation of content about social participation, autonomy, public policies, sustainability, transparency and democratic management.
- Certain Town Hall and Municipal Chamber members from the municipalities of Tabuleiro do Norte, Limoeiro do Norte and São João do Jaguaribe, who are not aware of or do not apply the MROSC Federal Law, which creates new standards and procedures for partnerships between civil society and the state. For example, members of the Council Chamber and Town Hall representatives, in particular in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte, who were involved through advocacy and civil society mobilisation, including in establishing commissions to hold dialogue with the public authorities and hearings in the Municipal Chamber.
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
- Certain sectors of the municipal legislative authorities in which the activities took place (Municipal Chambers), who had difficulty entering into dialogue and accepting changes to the institutional culture in order to implement MROSC. - Certain sectors from the state and municipal Audit Courts, who have issued positions in contradiction of the provisions of the MROSC Federal Law.
- Certain conservative members of parliament, interested in the criminalisation of civil society organisations.
- Certain representatives of the private sector, who are rights violators, not interested in strengthening civil society organisations.
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
Active and proactive participation took place on planning and the methodological approach. Lack of knowledge about MROSC served as a trigger to promote dialogue in the search for sustainable alternatives for civil society organisations, based on a context analysis. Involvement took various forms, such as preparatory meetings to organise activities; mobilisation and networking activities with other organisations and civil society networks; participation in commissions for dialogue with the public authorities; study activities for the proposition of the municipal regulatory standards for the MROSC Federal Law, participating in training workshops and public hearings; and working as dissemination agents for activities in other municipalities. It is worth noting that some local partner associations and groups were run by young people.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
The Association of Popular Educators of Ceará - Ceará Movement is a non-profit civil society organisation based in the city of Tabuleiro do Norte in the state of Ceará, Brazil. It was founded in 2005 by a group of popular educators and officially registered on 24th April, 2006 to undertake transformative education and strengthen social, grassroots and community movements. Working across the entire Northeast, its mission is to promote socio-educational activities and research, referencing the legacy of educator Paulo Freire, aimed at citizen participation and the construction of a society based on ethics, citizenship, human rights and democracy. It conducts educational and social-cultural activities in several locations in the state of Ceará, aimed at (re)discovering new forms of seeing, including and intervening for formal and informal groups, both grassroots and advisory, in order to stimulate individual-collective revelations and foster values, behaviour, attitudes and activities that contribute to the empowerment of individuals as protagonists in community activities, establishing real opportunities for social, political, environmental and economic transformation. It works in social areas such as education, culture, human rights and citizenship, social and digital inclusion, family farming, the organisation of production and the environment; and organisational strengthening. Generally, those involved in these activities are from the at-risk population, particularly women and young people, family farmers and traditional communities, working alongside community associations and union organisations, rights advisors, educators, teachers and educational and cultural agents. The Association is formed of popular educators from a range of knowledge areas from social and grassroots movements, in which they work in training, support and advice for community and union organisations, as well as with other organisations, participating in forums and networks, such as the Citizen Education Network, the Federation of Community Associations from Tabuleiro do Norte, the Viva Culture Network and permanent municipal and state education forums.
July to November 2017
1. To promote the institutional strengthening of civil society organisations in order to advocate for public policies through training and mobilisation, raising awareness in three municipalities in the state of Ceará: Tabuleiro do Norte, Limoeiro do Norte and São João do Jaguaribe.
2. Collaborate in the regulation of Federal Law 13019/14 (MROSC), through the mobilisation of the public authorities, holding a public hearing in the Municipal Chamber about its application and the participatory drafting of the proposed municipal regulatory standard in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte.
3. Contribution to awareness raising and dialogue with the public authorities in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte regarding the political and financial sustainability of civil society organisations and MROSC.
4. Contributing to the networking and mobilisation of civil society organisations in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte in order to work politically with the public authorities and advocate for public policies.
1. 55 civil society organisations strengthened and better qualified regarding popular participation and public policy oversight, the socio-political context, political and financial sustainability and the new regulatory framework for relationships with the state. Approximately 300 people were involved in the training activities.
2. Public hearing held in the Municipal Chamber on 01/11/17, with approximately 70 people and more than 50 leaders of community associations; proposed municipal regulatory standard drafted in a participatory manner and municipal decree no. 52 of 24 November 2017 approved in Tabuleiro do Norte.
3. Based on civil society demands, sectors from the executive and legislative authorities became aware of the new regulatory framework’s standards, working towards their regulation and establishing dialogue with the organisations.
4. The Federation of Community Associations from Tabuleiro do Norte was reorganised and a congress was held for the election of its new Trustee Board.
Description of preparatory activities
1. Mobilisation meetings for partners and stakeholders to plan activities.
2. Preparatory meetings for practical activities.
3. Preparation of educational materials and their dissemination/mobilisation.
4. Formation of the commission to establish dialogue with the Tabuleiro do Norte municipal government about the regulatory decree (formed by the Family Farming School Association / Jaguaribana, the Juazeiro and Sussuarana Community Associations, the Christ is Hope Association and the Association of Popular Educators of Ceará - Ceará Movement itself).
5. Meetings with the Municipal Prosecutor regarding the regulation.
6. Preparatory meetings for the public hearing.
Description of implementation
1. Running nine training activities for 55 civil society organisations, with approximately 300 people involved in training activities. One highlight was the direct training of 42 community leaders in participatory processes and public policy oversight, the socio-political, economic and legal context, political and financial sustainability and the new regulatory framework for relationships with the state.
2. Distribution of educational material, and dissemination/mobilisation regarding the theme (poster, banner, folder).
3. The Municipal Congress of Civil Society Organisations of Tabuleiro do Norte was held, the FACOTAN constitution was altered and members were elected to its Trustee Board for a 3-year term.
4. Public hearing held in the Municipal Chamber on 01/11/17, with approximately 70 people and more than 50 leaders of community associations.
5. Approval of Decree no. 052 regulating MROSC in the municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte, on 24 November 2017.
Description of time investment
Description of costs in BRL (R$), in 2017:
Food – R$ 2,200.00
Transport – R$ 1,500.00
Educational/teaching materials and office materials– R$ 1,800.00
Dissemination/communication materials – R$ 1,000.00
Audio-visual production– R$ 1,500.00
Accommodation - R$ 1,000.00
Total = R$ 9,000.00
It should be noted that financial expenditure was, in fact, greater than indicated above, since the organisation obtained support from partners for some of these expenditure items, as well as for other non-financial expenditure (space to run activities, equipment, etc.).
It should be noted that the organisational and coordinating team also dedicated many working hours to planning, preparing and running activities, contacting potential partners and the public authorities, and other activities. Other costs refer to personnel, such as advisors and workshop instructors.
The experience exceeded its objectives and, although not yet measured, continues to grow. Some political-educational steps from the training have been replicated in other locations in the state of Ceará, for example in the municipality of Saboeiro, where training activities and a public hearing in the Municipal Council Chamber took place, being chosen a Commission to coordinate the regulation of MROSC. In Jucás and Cariús, training activities were carried out to strengthen organisations, as was a study of MROSC. For communities in partnership with Obra Kolping (located in Fortaleza, Acarape, Redenção, Aracoiaba and Baturité), organisational strengthening and a MROSC course were undertaken. These activities were related to another project called “Advocacy Networking for Public Policies in the Northeast”.
Following approval of Municipal Decree 052/2017, the Commission for the Selection, Monitoring and Evaluation of MROSC was set up in Tabuleiro do Norte; the Centre for Support to Community Associations was reactivated; a Public Notice for CSO Accreditation and the MROSC Manual were launched at municipal level, ensuring that the municipality was able to enact the Regulatory Framework for Social Organisations. Several activities have been implemented as a result of political advocacy, in line with Citizenship Training School activities and coordinated with social organisations and actors. The municipality of Tabuleiro do Norte has already celebrated a number of partnerships deploying joint activities.
In order to establish a partnership with the state government, the Citizen Education Network and the Federation of Family Farm Workers held a hearing with the political advisor to the government of Ceará, where they discussed the proposal to replicate the work in the municipalities at state level, referring the proposal to the departments of Education and Social Protection, Justice and Citizenship. The visibility and recognition of the work’s importance crossed territorial lines, when during the Education Network's north-eastern states’ Caravan of Coordination, a workshop about MROSC was held in the city of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco.
Another important and noteworthy outcome is the continuity of activities by the Federation of Community Associations, based on the mobilisation of activities, the construction of local partnerships and working within a network. As a result of the training process, civil society organisations decided to unite their banners through this network, recognising that working in a network is an effective instrument for participation, public policy oversight, and efforts to guarantee the sustainability of civil society organisations.
It is also important to mention that, in 2018, the state of Ceará regulated MROSC through decree no. 32180. According to data from the Group of Institutes, Foundations and Companies, in partnership with the Institute for Applied Economic Research and other organisations, by May 2019, following the creation of law 13019/14 and its coming into force (in 2016 for states and in 2017 for municipalities), 18 Brazilian states and the Federal District had regulated the law, as had a range of municipalities. At national level, the National Congress for the Mixed Parliamentary Front in Defence of Civil Society Organisations was founded in 2019 with participation by civil society, in order to support the creation of a more favourable environment for the operation of these organisations and to guarantee social participation and democratic management. This will be instituted in September 2019.
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